The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout 2015 International Year of Soil (IYS) to educate the public about the importance of soil. February’s theme is “Soils Support Urban Life.”

In the US, over 80% of the population lives in cities or suburbs. While the downtown areas of cities are covered with asphalt and concrete, there are still lawns, trees, gardens and parks. Under all of this “city space”, even under the concrete, is soil. Soil a complex mixture of minerals, water, air, and organic matter that performs many critical functions.

SSSA recommends that urban dwellers consider rain gardens for their yards, and compost their appropriate food wastes. The SSSA website, Discover Soils, has a “Soils in the City” section (https://www.soils.org/discover-soils/soils-in-the-city) with instructions for setting up community gardens.

“Our main goal during International Year of Soils is to help educators and the general public understand this natural resource,” according to David Lindbo, SSSA’s IYS task force leader. “Soil provides for us and regulates our world. We need to take care of it in return…because soils sustain life.” 

As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. They are working in conjunction with Jim Toomey, author of the environmental cartoon, Sherman’s Lagoon. February’s Soils Support Urban Living video can be viewed at www.soils.org/iys/monthly-videos. Education materials can be viewed at www.soils.org/iys.